Monday, June 13, 2016

Planning and Organizing for a Conference

A week ago at this time, I was a nervous wreck as we prepared to launch our first ever district literacy conference.  I am so happy to share today that it was "Mission Accomplished".  We hosted the conference with two keynote speakers, Tim Rasinski and Carol Jago.  We also had seven different presentation sessions to pick from for each of the four time blocks.  As the exit surveys slowly trickle in, we are proud that our conference was met with a high degree of success.

One of the sessions I was able to present on was an "Ignite Style" session.  If you are interested in reading more about the ignite style, you can go here.  It's a challenging format and took a lot of practice and advance prep to get it right but I think it was a beneficial way of getting a lot of information across in a little time.  My session was about using Twitter to grow a professional learning network.  I think it went well but my animations made some of my slides not work.  Two strategies that our lead organizer, Kristi Sacha, did for our panel added was a turn and talk half way through and a note sheet with our names down the left column, contact info and a place for notes for each one and then how it could be applied in the classroom.

Another fun part of the conference was tweeting to the #APSIgnite2016.  I am so happy that we decided to add this element.  I think it was a great way to get more people thinking about how to use Twitter to grow professionally.  Hopefully we will have even more tweeters tweeting when we have our conference next year.

Here is the Storify I made of our conference:

Many teachers and administrators came together.  Tons of collegial sharing occurred throughout the conference.

One of the tools we relied on heavily was a shared folder within the Google Drive.  This allowed the six of us to collaborate on shared documents.  We began with a timeline to help us organize our plan for the conference.  I highly recommend doing this to determine the dates of when things should be stepped out.  We then used the folder to share our google form for inviting presenters,  We also shared a brochure and save the date bookmarks (originally published in Microsoft Publisher).   The next tool we added was the summary of the conference sessions once the presentations were selected.  We also added a registration form and an exit ticket via google forms.

Overall, I love the way we could collaborate and edit together as we worked through the conference planning process thanks to Google Drive.  If I have the chance to work on organizing the event again next year, I will investigate using Guidebook as well to make the sessions available online so that more people can plan digitally for their session selections.

I feel privileged to have been through this learning experience.  I look forward to future events.